"Children's Colorado has been a huge blessing for us. We will forever credit her surgeon with saving her life."
Jamie was complaining of abdominal pain and nausea off and on for about a month which progressed to being itchy and jaundiced. After several misdiagnoses, Jamie was admitted to Children's Hospital Colorado where her doctor found a tumor in her liver.
A three-hour liver biopsy revealed that Jamie had hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) – a liver cancer only found in 1 in 1.5 million children. Luckily, the cancer had not spread past her liver or bile duct and was still encapsulated with no free-floating cells.
HCC does not respond to chemo, leaving surgery as Jamie's only option. Her first surgery resulted in a partially collapsed lung. After recovering, she underwent a six-hour surgery to remove the tumor in her liver. During her surgery, Jamie received a blood transfusion as surgeons removed the left lobe of her liver, her gallbladder and two bile ducts and rerouted her intestines.
After a painful two-month recovery, Jamie was officially cancer-free on March 22, 2012.
"We have many years of scans and clinic visits ahead of us, but if Children's Colorado hadn't caught her cancer when they did, it would have been a death sentence," said Jamie's mom, Sarah.
Jamie's family appreciated the constant medical attention, caring nurses, volunteers who kept Jamie's spirits up, and the Child Life Specialists who helped Jamie through her surgeries to her reintegration to school.
Today, 9-year-old Jamie is a happy, healthy, active, fourth grader. She sees her doctor regularly for scans and clinic visits. "We feel like he is part of our family," said Sarah.
Statistics do not exist for kids her age, but the return rate for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma (FHC) is high. Jamie will most likely require scans for the rest of her life.
"Children's Colorado has been a huge blessing for us," said Sarah. "They had an uphill battle from the start since Jamie's cancer is so rare. We will forever credit her surgeon with saving her life."